Food and coronavirus: the solution is hygiene
But, one thing is sure and certain, it is an infected person can, during the preparation or handling of food, contaminate.
The best solution to curb the spread of the virus is therefore hygiene. What are the hygiene measures to be observed?
Coronavirus: how is contamination done?
The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is mainly spread through the respiratory tract through the respiratory droplets called postillions or sputum. These are thrown out of the body when an infected person coughs, sneezes or blows their nose. Indeed, the droplets are deposited on various surfaces and make them more or less dangerous for those who are not yet contaminated.
This is how we can be directly contaminated by sputum which would touch the areas close to the access to our respiratory tract, but also by our hands. We place them on potentially contagious surfaces and frequently touch our face, making it another vector of contamination. This is why it is necessary to respect certain hygiene rules to limit the spread, especially if you are handling food.
Washing your hands: the first rule of hygiene against coronavirus
Hand washing is very important to limit the spread of the virus. You must do this systematically before touching food, after any contact with the packaging. But, it’s not a matter of running your hands under cold water for a few seconds. Wash your hands well, use clean water, soap, and take the time to do it, about 20 seconds.
As an illustration, the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) gives us a detailed explanation of what good hand washing is: “To wash your hands effectively, remove your rings and other jewelry, use water and completely wet your hands. Take soap (1 to 3 ml) and lather well. Soap the hands for at least 15 seconds, taking care to rub between the fingers, back of the hand, wrists and forearms. “Then you have to” rinse well under clean running water, dry your hands with a disposable towel or under the dryer “.
It must therefore be done before, during and after handling food.
However, that’s not all. There is no point in washing your hands if it is to re-infect them immediately. It is therefore necessary to use the disposable towel to close the taps.
Soapy water will dislodge the virus from your hands and get rid of it. Soap and water is the winning recipe; disinfectants (with at least 60% alcohol) can be reserved for circumstances when you do not have access to a bathroom, such as transportation.
Nails, a nest of germs
If you could see the number of microscopic creatures that live under your nails, you would be terrified. In 1988, scientists from the University of Pennsylvania medical school analyzed what was in this protected, humid space and found thousands of dangerous microorganisms, including staphylococci. Another 2007 study by researchers at Aston University in Birmingham found, among other things, bacteria capable of causing gastroenteritis.
We can therefore see how this part of the hands could offer a refuge for the coronavirus. “False nails and chipped varnish go hand in hand with an increase in the number of bacteria on nails,” adds CCOHS. The risk is of course heightened for those who bite their nails. It is therefore absolutely necessary to ensure good hygiene of the nails, in addition to those of the hands!
Environmental health is also important
According to the New York Times, we have an example of contamination by objects: many people attending a Buddhist temple in Hong Kong fell ill, and the investigation of health authorities found that the bathroom taps and the tissues covering the sacred texts contained coronaviruses.
At present, there is no specific information on the survival of SARS-CoV-2 on objects. A more general study published in the “Journal of Hospital Infection” however indicated that the other known coronaviruses (those of Sras, of the Sea and those which cause simple colds) can survive on inanimate surfaces (metal, glass or plastic) during a period of up to 9 days. But, this same study gives the recipes to get rid of it: cleaning. Viruses can “be effectively inactivated by surface disinfection procedures”, especially with solutions based on alcohol (between 62 and 72%), hydrogen peroxide or sodium hypochlorite (bleach ).
The cleaning of surfaces regularly used and likely to have been contaminated by human sputum such as tables, bedside tables, door handles, elevator knobs, telephones and in general all the objects which can be touched regularly by many people is a safety factor to prevent possible infections.
Social hygiene: knowing how to distance yourself
Much has been said in recent days about social hygiene, even if the word is not always used directly. Simply put, it’s about avoiding being in situations that can lead to contamination. This may mean avoiding large gatherings or crowded places, but there are also simple steps you can take in an ordinary environment, whether at work, at restaurants, or in other public places.
Not sharing is a good principle, in this case. If you have a bottle of water with you, don’t let anyone else use it. Do not let your neighbor taste your dessert, do not use someone else’s napkin … the advice is also valid for glasses, cutlery and anything that can lead to an exchange of fluids. And of course never touch a dirty handkerchief …
Are there more risks during a dinner? It all depends on who you share the meal with. If she coughs, blows her nose, sneezes, you have a risk that her sputum could contaminate your plate, your cutlery … The best thing is therefore to avoid eating with sick people and send them to rest!
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